Sheriff to escort sex offender back to Craig

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Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead flies to Kentucky today to escort a convicted sex offender back to Craig on a commercial airline.

"We'll be the first ones on and the last off," Grinstead said.

Grant Taylor, 35, is to be picked up early Saturday at the Montgomery County Jail in Mount Sterling, Ky., where he has been held without bond since his Jan. 15 arrest.

Taylor -- who pleaded guilty in Moffat County District Court to a class-four felony charge of sexual assault on child -- was sentenced in March 2001 to 10 years to life probation.

Taylor last month was arrested after he allegedly attended a pancake breakfast at a Kentucky middle school. The court had ordered him to avoid "all places primarily used by children under the age of 18," according to court documents.

Probation officers also claim that Taylor has admitted to viewing pornographic materials with children -- violating court-ordered prohibitions against such acts as well as the use of any commercial Internet services.

Taylor, according to court documents, has previously served a 27-month prison sentence following a conviction on federal charges of possession of child pornography.

Locally, a hearing on Taylor's probation status has yet to be scheduled before Judge Michael O'Hara. If found in violation of probation terms, the penalties range from a two-year to life sentence in state prison, more probation, or release to a community corrections facility outside of Craig, according to Deputy District Attorney David Waite.

Grinstead, meanwhile, said he's flown to various destinations to pick up prisoners eight times throughout his career. Taylor's trip will be the first such flight since Grinstead was elected sheriff, while he said similar prisoner transports either by airplane or car are scheduled in the coming weeks to Florida, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Taylor won't be handcuffed returning to Colorado, said Grinstead.

The sex offender's "non-violent" history suggests he doesn't need to be, he added.

"I feel confident in my abilities," said the sheriff, adding he'll be armed and with handcuffs just in case. "I lay down the ground rules and make sure he understands those rules."

Mike Fergus, public affairs officer with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the agency leaves the logistics of prisoner transportation by law enforcement on

commercial flights between officers and the specific airline.

"It's not for us to say either way that's safe or not," Fergus said.

Chuck Cannon, spokesman for Denver International Airport, said the prisoner transports "aren't rare," while law enforcement officers are not required to notify DIA administration about the arrivals.

"If they want assistance, (Denver) police will meet them at the gate, escort them through the terminal and out to a vehicle," Cannon said.

Tickets for the Taylor trip totaling $453.03 will be paid out of the sheriff's department's travel budget.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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